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it is a make or break year
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for two brothers who started a bridal design company. if they can't turn it around in the next few months they will have to shut their doors, and we have the team together because it is time for "your business" makeover. hi, there, everyone. i'm jj ram beg and welcome to "your business" where we give you tips and advice to help your
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business grow. a few months ago we came across a small bridal design company in new york, and it was an interesting company with what i thought were fabulous designs, but something on the business side seemed to be missing, and we found out that the company was in trouble, and that is why we decided to step in and give the owners a "your business" makeover. when brothers steven and gregory started their bridal dress company fancy in 2008 they could not believe the initial reaction. at their first trade show while the peers snickered, others took notic notice. >> a woman walked right over and said i love the sleeves and collars and tell me your story. >> that is when i knew it would work. >> nowhere in the collection
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would you find the common place long strapless dresses that brides were wearing. their look was vintage inspired and comfortable and tea-length dresses. >> the mood of the brand was to have a nostalgic approach to dressing on your wedding day. >> the business was a dream come true for the two brothers, both laid off in the recession. steven handled the business end while gregory did the designing, but fancy new york turned out to be a roller coaster of highs and lows. highs included emotional thank yous from happy brides and a feature in martha stewart weddings, and the lows pretty much everything else. >> i always have water at my throat for bill payments and i'm constantly wo worried about who is next person to call me up and say that something is overdue or my check bounced. >> though the designs have struck a chord, their sales have not been robust enough to sustain the business or pay themselves a salary. the brothers have given themselves a six-month deadline
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to tush it arounrn it around, a can't, they will shut down the business. >> gregory will lose his retirement fund. it is gone. i will be in debt for the next 30 years. >> i'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that we don't get there. >> hi, i'm jen. >> gregory. pleasure. >> come in. >> time for a "your business" makeover. in order to get a sense of the fancy experience, i went undercover as a bride. under the guise of doing a story about last-minute weddings, our cameras were there to capture the appointment. >> i have to tell you something. i'm not getting married or even engaged. my name is j.j. ram beg and i work with "your business" on msnbc, and we are here to give your company a makeover. to begin the makeover of fancy new york, we assembled a rescue
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team. we first brought in business strategist mike mcallist without the brothers knowing it pored over the operations. when the company started in 2008, steven's wife got a job in turkey, and when he and his family made the international move they decided to handle all of the dress manufacturing there. >> i would have love td to have opened a shop where i could have hired two seamstresses and done all of the production here in new york and it was just cost prohibitive. >> so it is problemf-free, because you are getting the dresses in no problem? >> i wish. >> that is why you did it. >> when you have to ship anything in the world, you open up yourself to a whole gamut of issues that can happen. >> and with the mfing happening overseas, steven spends six months of the year in turkey while gregory works alone in new york, and with shipping and k
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customs and timing differences, the distance is a real issue. >> i see it in a lot of businesses. i call it back filling with logic. in small businesses and big businesses, too, are made with business, and then all tof the logic comes in. often a business back filled with logic is a mistake. >> they dove into the sales strategy and currently they work with 20 retailers across the country, but in addition to their own shop they man themselves, only four dresses are selling their dresses in significant numbers. >> we have to see what is working and patterns of success ensue. every 90 days of the business sit down and say, what is working and what is not working. what is not working, you have to quickly as possible get rid of it. and what is working, expand on it. >> mike summed up the meeting with a couple of final thoughs.s we have a lot of fixes coming your way, and the good news is doing less. there are things that you are doing that you have to have the
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courage to stop doing. and we will show you what to focus on and your business will turn, i promise you. >> and we brought in s3 communications, and while the brothers were out of town the week before, denise and i snuck into the offices and held a focus group. what do you think of the name fancy as it relates to these dresses? >> i didn't know it was a bridal -- i didn't know it was related the bridal. >> and then when i went on line, it was kind of hard for me to find it, because there are so many things called fancy. >> what we learned about how brides perceived the fancy brand was eye-opening and she shared it with gregory and steven. >> basically the thought is that the name fancy is ironically too generic or plain or misleading for the forward-thinking dresses that you have here. so we came up with a few different name ideas. one was a house of nato, and
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nato of new york, and one involving the script look. >> wow. that's really great. >> so the second sopoption is f ki and retro inspired, and this has a strong lettering that you then put up on the web and then fun looking at the windows at your different dresses or things that you have on the website. very different. >> it is. it goes to a different direction and really bold and actually kind of fantastic. >> and denise strongly recommended getting the brothers set up on the visual pinboard site pinterest. >> pinterest is growing incredibly fast and women love it and so are men. >> and a perfect fit for brides collecting images and themes for the wedding. she offered for someone on her team to get them set up to start pinning the dresses on the boards. the next addition was a designer
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with her own successful line. it was not long ago that aisha was in the same position as the brothers, and she said that things can be made identically in new york. these are two fancy dresses. one is made in turkey and one is made ten blocks from here. you should see your face. what do you think? >> i would not be able to see it. >> can i also tell you something? this is $46 less than what you are paying for that dress coming from turkey. >> $46 less. >> no shipping or headaches or e-mails or anything. >> how many? >> and you can get one made or 20 made, they will work with you. >> at the end of day one, greg and steven had a lot to think abo about, a new name, a analysis on the sales strategy and photos to get for pinterest. >> and this is the fourth thing and the big nail biter for me and j.j., you have to have more
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on job time and face time and that means, steven, it is time for you to come back to the u.s. >> so that is the homework and we will meet again and i want to hear answers to all of these things, and we have one more surprise tonight, so in the meantime, go home, and take a little rest and look your best for when we meet again. so did steven and gregory listen to us? will they change the company name? will steven move to new york? to find out those answers as well as what else we had in store for them, make sure you hang around for the second part of the makeover coming up. like it or not, facebook's new time line format is almost here. m march 30th, the new platform will be rolled out across the popular social media site. the changes of the of all feel of the site are significant and how brands talk to customers and leverage content. what does this mean for your small business facebook page? jason keith is the founder of social media education company
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social fresh and he is here to give us a primer on the changes and how to customize the page in advance of the launch. >> thanks for having me. >> yes, the last thing you want to do is to go on the facebook on march 30th, and say, what happened to my page? >> like the site went down. >> yes, and it is good for everyone to know it is not going to be that hard to change. >> yes, it will take place right away, but there are easy steps to get you ready. >> i have gone in to look at people with changes and there is a photo. >> well, it is a big change and it is much more close to a real website now, and the biggest change that people will notice right away is the big photo and the full width of the change, and some businesses may have trouble finding an image that large to look nice, and that is the biggest branding element of the facebook page. >> what do you do if you are scrambling between now and march 30th and you don't have a designer to do it with you? >> well, if you don't have a
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designer or photoshop, because take some photos of customers and those photos are high quality, also of staff and personality of the business to use as an image. another thing is to go on the shutterstock.com or istock p.com, and if you can spend some money, $50 to $100, you can find the images and high quality image to put there. >> and if you don't put something in right away, will it be blank? >> it will be blank. you can use the photos that already exist on your page and most of them won't be in the high enough quality, but toy around with it, and look around a couple of days before and see if something will work. >> and you can use the photos throughout the site, right? >> facebook wants you to remember one thing about this change, it is use more poe photos. photos are the most shared content on the web. people react quickly, because they are easy to consume, and low guilt factor and pass them on quickly. facebook wants you to have more reaction and because of that,
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they want more photos and because of that they have a much more beautiful page with the images all over the page instead of text. >> it is fun for the brand, because it allows you to tell your story more through the photos and now you have a place to put the history. tell us about that. >> well, it is exciting that you mentioned telling your story, because facebook is giving small businesses a place to tell their story so they don't have to build the website themselves. so it has date links on the side, and you can add what they call a milestone and put a photo wit stretching the full width of the page, and say, we were founded on this day. ford has an example where they have the first model t rolling off of the line, and there are great examples of important moments. and old spice have made up moments where they say they influenced the baby boom, and keep people interested on your page as well. >> and that is interesting, because we are trying to tell our story, and frankly for people who don't know it yet, it is a great way to think of it and organizing yourself. and messages? not as many? >> well, messages is a new
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feature available in the admin that you should look at and allows the fans to message you privately just like anybody else, and what lit will do is t take the complaints off of the wall, and take those into private conversations which is where they belong. >> got it. and for the admin section, what is different? >> not everything shows up on the facebook page anymore and you have more control, and not all of your fan page messages and not all of the fan message s are going to be on the wall and so in order to manage that and decide what shows up and doesn't, there is a place for admin activity log and you can look at the messages and edit them and delete them and all sorts of control, and it makes a sense of what is complicated forrer a lot of people. log in the admin and go to the activity log and it will give you control over what shows up on the time line. >> this is great. thank you for the primer. everyone go to facebook right now, and check this out, and get ready for march 30th. thank you so much, jason.
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>> thank you for having me. social media can be an easy but time consuming way to market your small business. here now are five pop ular web-based services to help you leverage the power of social media while keeping the time commitment in check courtesy of bizbest.com. one, get more marketing mileage out of blog comments using discuss. the comment's platform allows the users to sign in and comment using their favorite social media networks. two, buffer is a great way to schedule your social media activity. add posts and tweets to the system and have them automatically distributed throughout the day. three, hosting lets you publish to all of the major social media sites and schedule your post in advance and pulls the comments from all of the sites into one place. and four, multifeed ia is a fre business tool to manage the pages and schedule content and track the messages all from one dashboard. and number five, monitor what is
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being said about you online using sprout social. the site will track your social media efforts. so, did steven and gregory take our makeover advice? stick around as we bring in one of the biggest names in fashion to propose how this bridal company can change its way. we've all had those moments. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership.
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as we saw earlier in the show, steven and greg, the owners of a bridal design company fancy new york need some help. when we left their offices that first day, we left them with a lot to think about, a new name, a new manufacturing strategy, new marketing ideas, be but we also had one more surprise for them. take a look.but we also had one more surprise for them. take a look.but we also had one more surprise for them. take a look.ut we also had one more surprise for them. take a look. >> you look great. >> you do, too. >> so dwrukd aboyou talked abou go to at lo of events but you are on the outside. well, tonight, you are on the inside. when they started their business they had few contacts in the fashion industry to help them and we decided to change that by
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asking nanette la poore who has been very involved in new york garment district. >> nice to meet you. >> amazing. >> the next day they got off to brass tacts and starting off with a tour of her headquarters and sitting down with a one-on-one conversation to start the mentorship program. >> you to get in touch with the warning signs that go off, the oh, you know, you see something that looks like a potential mistake and then you bury nit i the back of your mind, and it comes back and you say, oh, my god, i had a sixth sense about that. >> after getting much needed encouragement and advice, they left the meeting with a rolodex of new contacts and optimism about the future. >> you are going to do a great business manufacturing here in new york city, i know it. >> thank you. >> the facilities are here, and you will have more control and you will be so happy and even
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this the garment center is willing, and ready and able to help you. >> well, we will contact them next. >> good. >> thank you. >> thank you. the next stop was the much anticipated meeting with aisha and her designer. >> i brought a couple of desig designers to meet you. >> this is where the linda dress was made in the garment district for $46 less than it was made in their factory in turkey. the brothers brought two more dresses for them to evaluate and look at. >> we do stuff like this. >> the broers this rushed back to the office to meet jamie h hamill who gave them pointers and tips on how to set up pinterest to spread their unique brand through the power of picture pictures. >> i want to show you pinterest, and i am sure you have heard it, but it is the new hot social network.
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and the traffic alone has outtraff outtrafficked googol plus, and linkedin and youtube since january which is amazing. >> the last stop was meeting with me one last time to talk through the homework assignment and get some answers to the big picture question that the team asked them earlier in the week. first, the name. denise suggested they change from fancy new york to nato new york or house of nato. >> we decided not to change the name. we feel very strongly that girls don't shop by brand name. our name would have been irrelevant to put into the logo, itself. however, it is not to say that we shouldn't tweak the name. so it will be changing from fancy new york to fancy bridal. >> though the name didn't change much, everything else did. >> so we broke it down to who are the best selling stores. and out of the 22 stores, there are five of them that do the best work, that do the best business that we pay no attention to, and they are going
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to be our focus. >> and manufacturing, how did it go? >> amazing. really, really amazing, and the sample that we saw the other day, and we brought two additional samples to the manufactur manufacturer, and immediately right off of the bat, she is like, well, that is funny, why are they doing it this way? if they stitch it underneath, it will roll bet, and so i was always looking for somebody to impart their knowledge, and it is that we are so excited about working here, and just being able to run up, and go, pop in and say, hey, how is it going? >> and the big question about steven moving back to the u.s. from turkey? >> it is in the plans. so, that october date that i have been talking about as our cutoff point is probably the date that we will be moving back. >> okay. with the new factory and new sales strategy and marketing plan and kcontacts, suddenly, te october deadline didn't feel as overwhelming as before. >> you guys, good luck on
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everything that you are doing, and i'm going to be back here in octob october. october. >> october. >> and you will be around. >> yes, we are. >> indeed. >> certainly are. gregory and steven have a lot to do over the next few months, and we will check back in with them in october to see how things are going, and in the meantime, mike mccalowits is with us now and he is author of "the pumpkin plan" and also, director of strategy as well. >> may i say one thing, because some throwup came up in my mouth when i saw myself wearing a dress, because i have not done that since college. >> you are not wearing it to da. >> you look great. >> and it is a brillo pad of disgustingness. >> well, a lot of times when you go into a company like this, the problems are not that big. i mean, they are big in terms
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that they need to be made and make changes for the business, but having you come in and denise, and aisha, and they were clear from the outsider's perspective, it is clear that you need to do that and the lesson in part is that entrepreneurs need to take a step back and see, as you said, what is working? what is not working? e really analyze it. >> and almost take a scientific approach. that is what you are saying, the challenges are not insurmountable and if you break it down like that and just come up with an lit cal way of dealing with it, it can work. >> yes, and there is a great analogy out there that if you take out in a airplane from california to new york, and you are off by one degree, you end up in canada. so if you take off course even slightly, you will be off course gradually. >> and we were talking that they had five top retailers and they
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were spending more time on the other others, and you have to cut them out. >> can i plug the book? i won't ask you, because in the "pumpkin plan" i talk about the vine vines. if you want to grow the big pumpkin, you have to get rid of the rotting ones to allow the nutrients to go to the big one. get rid of the diseased vendors. >> but before you do, ask them why it is not working out. and sometimes with an unhappy customer, they can be a great source of information and find out what they are not liking to fix the problem. >> and contacts are so important and they were manufacturing in turkey, because one moved there and they could not do it, and they could not find a way to do it and cost efficient way in new york city, and when we introduce them to people, we find out it is cost efficient and gets rid of all of the headaches and that is just about meeting people and networking and incredibly important. >> and some of the business owners have their head down in the business and they don't step out, and do the networking they should be doing and not thinking
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of the big picture. they are so focused on getting through the day. you know, this is a great example of how, once you step out, you can see it more clearly, you know. >> they were making a mistake that i see every business owner make, when it is not working they try to fix it. if it is not working, there is a reason, and find it and get a new course. >> i want to throw out to the audience the name. we had denise deblais come in and try to suggest a new name, and they decided from fancy new york to fancy bridal, and so the suggestion was nato, and i want you to tweet us or write in about this. i know you had opinions about this. >> i think it is a terrible name. i can't say it for the other ways, because for the same members that the focus group members said, if you go to
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search, some fancy listings will come up, and none of them the bridal salon. and fancy is not a word i would describe them. maybe nostalgic or vintage or jackie o. >> you think that the name is okay? >> well, it is okay -- >> it is not. >> it is true, but they are guys, and they don't see what the consumer sees, but i'm the king of bad names, and toilet paper entrepreneur is the worst name you could come up, but it is memorable. so the job is that if they love that name and believe in it, they have to tell why it is memorable and tell that story to the community. own it. if you keep it, own it. >> yes. >> and this is so much fun to do, and we will again as we said check in on them in october. i can't wait to see it. time now to answer some of your business questions. mike and colleen are with us once again. the first one is an e-mail from robin who writes, i have a unique business idea that i would like to collaborate with existing businesses who may be
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interested in becoming a supplier or wholesaler. how would you go about choosing the vendors to participate? i guess one of the things that she has to do is to get people interested in whatever her idea is. >> yes, she mentions unique business idea and i wonder if she has tested it out? any business owner or potential business owner, i recommend before you spend a lot of time, energy and money jumping into this, test out this unique business idea. it may not be something that fli flies. you might think it is great, but have a focus group and see if it is going to work before you invest a lot in this. >> and when she goes to try to find these partners, how does she find them? >> well, you have to start small. if you try to go for the big venner dos and saven vendors and say i want to collaborate with you, they will say, who are you? but go with the smaller vendors and propose the idea and be flexible to change it from collaboration to a more traditional vendor relationship.
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>> that is something that if she wants to work the existing businesses, that is a great idea to partner up with a existing business who has relationships with the vendors and the suppliers and partner up and get your own track record and then once you is that, the vendors will work with you. >> yes. great advice, and great to work with you. if you have a question for the expert, go to the website, because the address is openfo m openforum.com/yourbusiness. or if you'd rather, e-mail us the questions or comments to yourbusiness@msnbc.com. do you have a new idea or initiative that needs vetting, but you don't have the time to wait weeks or months for answers? check out our website of the week. gutcheckit.com gets you directly in touch with the market with online chats. after specifying the consumer you are looking for, gut check
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will put you with qualified people for up with on one chat rooms. if you want feedback on a logo or advertising pitch, the files can be shared easily through gut check's chat engine. each interview will cost you $40. to learn more about today's show, click on the website. it is openforum.com/yourbusiness. you will find all of today's segments and web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. you can follow us at twitter @yourbusine @yourbusiness. you may think that there is no room in the world of cable television, but you would be wrong. >> i can't own a big company, but i have the same entrepreneurial spirit. i own it. i control it. >> meet one of the hundreds of small business owners who own and operate small scale cable tv

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Your Business
MSNBC December 29, 2012 2:30am-3:00am PST

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

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